Hyundai will start producing electric cars in Indonesia in March 2022 while admitting that it’s going to be a big gamble to enter a segment not familiar to local buyers.
The South Korean company completed the construction of its $1.5 billion assembly plant in the West Java town of Cikarang earlier this year and began production in May.
The factory is currently developing two models of conventional gasoline cars, those with internal combustion engines (ICE).
“We plan to build electric cars in March at our assembly plant in Cikarang based on our Ioniq 5 model which enjoys good market reception in South Korea and already enters European markets as well,” Lee Kang Hyun, the Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Motor Asia Pacific, told Beritasatu TV on Thursday.
He said selling electric cars in Indonesia won’t be easy but Hyundai is ready to rise to the challenge.
“Most common cars in Indonesia are those with Rp 200-300 million price tags while electric cars remain very expensive at more than Rp 600 million a unit and that’s why the market size is so tiny,” Lee said.
Despite the challenging conditions, Hyundai Indonesia managed to sell more than 500 units of Kona and Ioniq electric cars imported from South Korea year to date, he added.
Hyundai will need support from the Indonesian government to expand electric car markets next year when local production begins.
“We are confident of selling more electric cars next year with support from the government. For example, government fleets need to be the first to change to electric cars,” he said.
The Cikarang plant is designed with the capability of building ICE cars and electric cars on a single production line, Lee said.
“With the full support of the government, we completed the factory in just 18 months despite the pandemic,” he said.